The weekly comic strip by Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening once ran in 379 newspapers. But “Life in Hell” was a victim of severe cutbacks in the print industry, and now runs in just 38 papers. The last new strip ran Friday, and reruns will continue through July 13.
“Life in Hell” was born in Los Angeles, and helped launch Groening’s television career. From Poynter:
It started running in Wet Magazine in 1978, then moved to the now-defunct LA Reader, where Groening worked. The strip eventually made its way to LA Weekly. Its popularity grew, amassing a client list of more than 250 papers, when producer Polly Platt noticed “Life in Hell” and showed it to actor/producer James L. Brooks.
Brooks contacted Groening and wanted him to develop a series of “bumpers” based on “Life in Hell” for “The Tracey Ullman Show.” Groening was a bit apprehensive at the thought of handing over the rights to his characters, so he created the Simpsons to fill the slot.
Check out the full Poynter article here. It quotes yours truly, so naturally it’s an excellent read.
And an interesting factoid gleaned from a USA Today article on the subject – Groening used to be roommates with LA Weekly managing editor Jill Stewart! Please, Ms. Stewart, dish.